Maybe I Should Just Give Up

PercyMum

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I'm sorry, this is a bit of a 'poor me' post but I am home alone and no-one to talk to so hope you don't mind too much.

So I bought a horse 11 years ago. Competed up to Novice level.
He gets Kissing Spine, is never quite right but is my horse of a lifetime that I have a special bond with him. I lost him last year to what I now have had confirmed as Wobblers.

At the same time as the first horse shows no improvement, I buy a second horse. He is fine for about a year - then diagnosed with Kissing Spine. Post-op, he is never the same and is permanently retired.

I buy another horse, who turns out to be a dangerous lunatic, puts me in hospital with suspected broken neck, back and pelvis. Turns out I have numerous fractures but nothing awful. Horse is returned to dealer and subsequently put down as is clearly mental.

I replace him with a darling mare who is perfect in every way. She gets Wobblers and is put down. I am given another TB, who (touch wood) is fine but very quirky.

I get ANOTHER horse to replace the original horse who has been put down after his horrid, horrid illness.

I have found out today that he is in all likelihood, suffering from Kissing Spines.

All have been vetted except the freebie TB. The recent purchase was supposed to be my final fling at some fun because I have knackered knees and in all reality will be in a wheelchair within the next 10 years as my hips have given up the ghost too.

We own our dream house with land, arena, and superb outriding. And now I just feel like I want to give it all up. I just cannot go through another sick horse episode. Its supposed to be fun but all I seem to do is through money at vets and spend time in tears at another disaster. This will now be 7 years of sick horses.

I'm just not sure I can do this again :(
 

ladyt25

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Sounds pre crappy and you've had some awful bad luck there! :-( Can I ask what are the reasons you are or have gone down the diagnosis route for kissing spine? I assume it is due to issues the horses are exhibiting?

My only thinking behind that question is that if we had all our horses checked for kissing spines we would most probably find many technically had this but showed no symptoms. Some may show back issues, be found to have kissing spines but actually that is just coincidental and isn't causing the problem - ie, may just be a poor fitting saddle and the kissing spine is a bit of a red herring!

However, you also seem to have an attraction towards TBs and I understand (whether this is true or.not), they are more susceptible to wobblers and kissing spines. Therfore maybe if you were to look for another, maybe steer away from this breed, maybe that would help allay fears you may have about the same problems arising?

I am sure we all go through periods of wondering what we are doing but we usually come out the 'other side ' ok! :)
 

I*HM

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Sorry for all the crap luck OP, seems you've drawn the short straw.
No real advice from me though perhaps a share or part loan might be an option if you still want some time in the saddle?

Or maybe a bit more solid, slightly more "cold blooded" type might be a little less problematic and hardy!
 

PercyMum

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Conniegirl - Horses are checked every 6 months by a vet, physio and saddler. And Kissing Spine is not a management issue. For what it is worth, the horses go out for a minimum of 8 hours a day, have 12x17 stables, and are large TBs or TBx who are more than capable of doing what I ask. And I am not overweight or anything like that.

1st Kissing Spine op was a last-ditch diagnosis over his behavior. Did nothing and was a saddle issue in the end (long story, but I spent somewhere in the region of £6k in M2M saddles etc from every top name you can think of. Turns out he had a tiny wee rib cage that couldn't take ore than a 16.5" saddle and after that, he was fine). 2nd KS was cut and dry - awful spine under X-ray and had 3 processes removed. Had trouble with the anesthetic and he was never right after. The latest one is an initial diagnosis from the vet and physio. He is being booked in for bone scans asap.
 

PercyMum

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Sorry for all the crap luck OP, seems you've drawn the short straw.
No real advice from me though perhaps a share or part loan might be an option if you still want some time in the saddle?

Or maybe a bit more solid, slightly more "cold blooded" type might be a little less problematic and hardy!


Thanks but I keep the horses at home so would rather have my own. And the latest is IDxTB, but most like ID. Is a good doer and about as hardy as they come. I think the problem is that I have big (17hh+) horse and I suspect they are more prone to issues.
 

GlamourDol

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What bloody rubbish luck!
Maybe you are getting closer to the perfect horse? (if it even exists. :D )
Are you having full x-rays before buying? Were there any other issues at viewing? I.e. reluctance to canter, bucking etc.
I would agree that it isn't cause by management, but can be sped up by accidents. (I know of one who had an accident in the walker, the owner noticed something was wrong about a week after, and KS was then diagnosed. )

Are you getting second opinions? I only ask as there are a few vets who earn the reputation of diagnosing everything with KS. :D
 

Leo Walker

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Its only anecdotal, but any big horse, ie 16.2hh+ that I have known has had issues. I know there must be hundreds of thousands of sound big horses, but after watching my sister break her heart and spend thousands on her big mare, and pretty much any other big horse go lame, I stick to littlies! I'm not suggesting you get a small fat cob like me, but what about a smaller native x TB type? The ones I've known seem tough as old boots!
 

Perce

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just wanted to give you some sympathy.
I went through a period of terrible luck with my horses and felt very low and trapped in the situation.
Good luck.
 

honetpot

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I really feel for you. I have had mainly ponies over the years, some from youngsters but a couple bought as older ponies and I have never had any soundness problems. I bought a maxi cob as a 3 year old and expected problems especially with his hocks but we didn't get a problem, then a teenage TB who I thought would last a couple of years sound but he was PTS sound.
I do not know whether its bad luck or the type you have bought, I do like hybrid vigour and we spend very little time in the school as it bores the pants off ponies and I worry about joints. If I was you I would go and by a rough cob or a nice virtually indestructible M&M with no smart blood lines, I just love doing what the big ones can do with a hairy and they do make you smile.
 

Mike007

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It seems that others dont quite see the same picture as usConniegirl. I do agreee. I have not yet had a horse with kissing spines . I am basicly and to put it bluntly ,porky/heavy. yet I know and understand that. I make allowances . I have saddles that are designed to spread weight. (basicly the old style hunting saddle).I dont ponse about trying to get good dressage movements but try to keep my weight sprung ,and off my horses back.Perhaps I have been lucky in all my horses .But I simply dont get how one person can have so many related problems.
 
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marmalade76

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I really feel for you. I have had mainly ponies over the years, some from youngsters but a couple bought as older ponies and I have never had any soundness problems. I bought a maxi cob as a 3 year old and expected problems especially with his hocks but we didn't get a problem, then a teenage TB who I thought would last a couple of years sound but he was PTS sound.
I do not know whether its bad luck or the type you have bought, I do like hybrid vigour and we spend very little time in the school as it bores the pants off ponies and I worry about joints. If I was you I would go and by a rough cob or a nice virtually indestructible M&M with no smart blood lines, I just love doing what the big ones can do with a hairy and they do make you smile.

Ditto this. Go and by yourself something small and hardy, something that's done a bit and is ready to go and be enjoyed x
 

Foxy O

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I agree something hardy would be better. You might not think they are as pretty as a tb but they are much more fun
 

PercyMum

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When I lost Murph I did think about getting a little one. Except I am 5'9, weigh 12 stone and jump. I also have knackered knees and a short stride would hurt them more.

Hoping its not KS - but vet not sure what else could be causing such a severe reaction when jumping. Everything else has been checked. Off to horspital it is. Bumms.
 

POLLDARK

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How about a change of direction from jumping to dressage maybe. I had to stop jumping for health reasons, ie one skull fracture too many & although dressage seemed second best for quite a while I now enjoy it with all the challenges it throws up. Depending on the level competed at it should be easier on you & your horse/horses. It will also strengthen different muscles (giving the jumping muscles a forever rest) on you & your horse perhaps to the benefit of you both. Just a thought.
 

lurcherlu

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I've got a welsh x Appaloosa the apy is tb/wb/cob mix , she has huge long legs and huge strides, she's bare foot which they say helps to lengthen strides, she is the most comfortable horse I've ever had and cost me 450 quid ;)
 

lurcherlu

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And she's not that ugly :)

image-6.jpg
 

stencilface

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After having numerous lamenesses with mine (not KS -yet touch wood!) I doubt if I get another I will get anything over 15.2. Mines only 16.1 but I think anything much over 15h doesn't stand as much chance of staying sound as far as I'm aware, there are no naturally big natives (waiting to be corrected!)

No help really, but maybe you've had bad luck, or maybe it's also something to do with the type you buy?
 

BBH

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I feel your pain . I lost my first at 7 from an anyurism (sp), my second went permanently lame at 8 and I lost my third to a brain tumour.

Never again, they all had 5 stage vettings all the medical care money could buy and still not one horse could be ridden.

If and it's a big if I'd give these warm bloods a big swerve and get a welsh D.
 

Clare85

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Sorry about your rotten luck op. I agree with others who say go for a more hardy type. I've ridden some wonderful chunkies/hairies who have ridden much bigger than their actual size. I used to ride a friend's 14.3hh cob who felt as if he was about 16hh. I had soooo much fun with him. The good thing about the natives and cobbies is that they will generally turn their hoof to anything and they give you sp much ime. Chin up, don't give up, it'd be a shame to waste your land etc :)
 

Hetsmum

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Don't give up as I'm sure the right horse is out there somewhere! I attended a vet talk once that claimed 90% of TB's had KS and as it is conformational then thats not going to improve any time soon! I am a cob lover - but I get they are not for everybody. If you want a bigger horse how about more of a hunter type or even a Cleveland Bay.........lovely horses...........
 

mystiandsunny

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If you do try again, I had a horse checked for back/ovary issues last year (due to behaviour problems and want to get everything checked). Vet was experienced and recommended. He didn't whip out all the scanning equipment etc but had a really GOOD look at her (plus an internal to check the ovaries!). He said to me it was unlikely she had KS because her back was flat and wide. She is a WBxWelsh. There is a conformation thing in it, and that is perhaps why smaller horses with more pony blood (and consequently wider, flatter backs) are less prone to it. It is a known thing that horses beyond a certain size (16hh I think) are more prone to injury, due to the structure of a horse not really being designed to be that big. Plenty are fine, but plenty are not, too!
 

PercyMum

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Thanks all.

To be fair, the first lad who had KS was quite TB-ish despite being IDx and was 17hh. Thw wobblers that killed him was from an accident he had, and could not have been picked up until it was too late. The 2nd was a big 17.3hh warmblood - but enough said as he was a bit inbred too which probably didnt help. This one is 17hh and is built like a proverbial brick *****house. I specifically bought him as he wasnt like the others. The mare who died from Wobblers was due to an accident, most likely a fall in training and, again, there was nothing anyone could have done about that without xrays on purchase.

I am hoping he will be fine but I a not sure whether putting him through the op is a good idea (if it is confimed as KS - I am fervently hoping that it isnt).
 

Orangehorse

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Ye Gods, what a run of bad luck. I read your post and thought like everyone else really. Look for something with pony or arab blood.

I read H & H list of famous horses run a year or two back - well known, successful eventers, and nearly all of them had a dash of something in their background a generation or two back. More than pure TBs. Also big horses are difficult to keep sound.
 

Prince33Sp4rkle

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gosh, what a crap time :(

just as a note-management covers the work/schooling too.

It is said that the best physio is correct suppling, gymnastic, work and to a certain extent i agree.

I see people(on yards i teach at) that seem to have *crap luck* with horses but when you take a step back, the actual riding of the horse, the bit that puts the most pressure on them physically is so un-structured its not suprising.

Do the horses have a routine of work? 2 days on, 1 off, 2 on, 1 off is generally a good rule of thumb to try and stick to.

Do you make sure to try and work a different muscle group each time you ride to avoid repetitive strain? ie do lateral work one day, transition work the next, dont do all your collected work in one session. dont drill etc etc.

Do you tailor the work to the individual horse? some need more fast work, some need more walk hacking.

Do you lunge too much? i detest lunging for any longer than 5mins to take the edge off.

I never trot on roads, hard ground, soft ground, un-even ground. I make the effort to walk on many different surfaces but i do not go faster than that on anything i would not run on myself repeatedly.

I see people who ride for a few days, then weeks of nothing,then straight back in to fast work, or school for days in a row before a show, or *risk it* on less than perfect going, or repeat the same damn thing endlessly etc etc.

sore legs, sore feet, sore bodies have a knock on effect elsewhere.

I obsessively cold hose legs after hard work, use cooling gels, magnetic wraps etc. Massage pads and magnet rugs.

am constantly evaulating my work routine with them.

OP i am not saying you are at fault but there are many sides to horse management and keeping them sound is a bit of an art form. be very critical of what you could change/do differently.
 

PercyMum

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Thanks Princess S.

I'll try and answer all your Q's. I have asked this of my vets before - is it something I am doing wrong? They say no, just epically cruddy luck. My instructor says I have faults (we all do!) but nothing that should cause this level of damge in my horses. Ive also only had this horse for 6 months so thats some going to cause this level of injury. I am totally open to the idea it could be me but no sure where? Anyway, here are my answers:

Do the horses have a routine of work? 2 days on, 1 off, 2 on, 1 off is generally a good rule of thumb to try and stick to.

I try to do 2 days work, 1 day off but equally depends on how I am with my dodgy knees. They generally work 5-6 days a week and are turned out daily. They do 2 days schooling, 2 days lunging, 2 days hacking. In summer, hacking goes up, lunging goes down. School sessions are no longer than 20min lunge, or 30 mins in the school.

Do you make sure to try and work a different muscle group each time you ride to avoid repetitive strain? ie do lateral work one day, transition work the next, dont do all your collected work in one session. dont drill etc etc.

I try to but they are both green so I tend to do a bit of lateral, bit of pole work, bit of transitions and mix it up, spending no more than 5 mions on each. Always warm up and cool down with a good strtchy walk for at least 5 mins in each.

Do you tailor the work to the individual horse? some need more fast work, some need more walk hacking.

Yep - the TB does alot of fast work out hacking but alot of slower work in the school as he finds it hard. The TBx does alot of suppling exercises and transitions as he is abit more advanced. However, he tends to do slower work out as he is a big lad and doesnt need thundering about.

Do you lunge too much? i detest lunging for any longer than 5mins to take the edge off.

I do lunge a max of twice a week in a loose pessoa although this is more for me than the horses due to my knacked knees.

I never trot on roads, hard ground, soft ground, un-even ground. I make the effort to walk on many different surfaces but i do not go faster than that on anything i would not run on myself repeatedly.

None/very little roadwork as I live in the middle of the forest. Fast work is on robust ground and on good tracks. SOmetimes a little boggy but try very hard to avoid these but soemtimes you dont see them coming! This one that is injured has doen very little fast work out as he is a spooky sod and very quick to spin round and b&&ger off.

I see people who ride for a few days, then weeks of nothing,then straight back in to fast work, or school for days in a row before a show, or *risk it* on less than perfect going, or repeat the same damn thing endlessly etc etc.

I never do this. If they have a week off, I take a week to build them back up, if 2 weeks, 2 weeks to do so etc etc. I never go in the school 2 days in a row either unless I can absolutely help it. And I dont repeat things because I get very bored very quickly too!

I obsessively cold hose legs after hard work, use cooling gels, magnetic wraps etc. Massage pads and magnet rugs.

I dont cold horse often, unless hard, fast work out on a warmday. They do have a massage pad that gets used on them on their day off or if they have had a tough lesson.

Very open to see what I am doing wrong but I am not sure where. My only assumption is that its my riding but I am not heavy in the seat and am not heavy in the hand. Well, instructore have not said anything to that effect. I do need to give with the reins more but thats with the particular horses I have at the moment. Any light anyone can shed would be great.
 
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